Opinions, fiction, travelogues, photography


view:  full / summary

Against Hillary

Posted by MLGoodell on February 2, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Following Hillary Clinton’s thrilling, amazing, come-from-behind Iowa caucus victory over the scintillating Bernie Sanders, it may be time to take this bright young politician seriously. There is a very real chance she will win the Democrat Party nomination. We should dread this prospect.


There are plenty of reasons why Hillary should not be president, including her husband, the Old Houndog hisself. I he were to return to the White House, no woman in Washington under the age of 60 would be safe, especially those with big, uh, hair. Another is the prospect of listening to that cackle for the next four years. Also, consider her mannerisms. They aren’t natural. She looks like she’s thinking her way through simple human interactions. Compared to Hillary, 70’s era Disneyland animatronics are stunningly lifelike.,


Yet another reason to dread another Clinton in the White House is the very real prospect that Hillary would be the first sitting president forced to pardon herself to stay out of jail. These are all compelling reasons not to vote for her, but none of them matter as much as this little gem from her basic stump speech:


“We need enough support to be able to really wrap our arms, both literally and figuratively, around every child, and give those kids a chance to show us what they can do, to make their contributions.”

On the surface, this anodyne statement is nothing more than political boilerplate, just words to fill in the spaces, but it is so much more than that. First, when Hillary says “we,” she isn’t talking about parents. “We” to her is the state. So she is saying the state needs enough support to literally wrap its arms around each child. Is there any thought more chilling than that? Well, yes, there is, and it comes at the end of her plea to help the little ones. Why must the state literally wrap its arms around every child? So every child will have a chance to make their contributions.


Now, again, this seems to be a noble sentiment, that every child should have every opportunity to contribute to society. But Hillary isn’t talking about society, she is talking about the state. This is the progressive outlook in a nutshell. The state exists to control each individual in order to help that individual make the greatest contribution to the state.


This differs only in degrees from that haunting line from “1984,” “If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”


Although it’s a popular meme, for jaded millennials and the mouth-breathing Tea Party Taliban alike, that there is no difference between the two parties, it just isn’t true. The Republican Party stands for the individual. Even “liberals” like Paul Ryan recognize the danger of the ever-expanding state. Unfortunately, reining in the state is a massive, thankless, seemingly impossible job. There are more defeats than victories in this fight.


The Democrat Party, on the other hand, represents the state. Democrats believe in the essential goodness of the state. They believe the state must be made larger and stronger in order to perfect the human race. This is the state which wraps its arms around children and forces them to make their contributions. It is a hug which ultimately and inevitably becomes suffocating.


By her own words, today and throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has made it clear that she believes in the state and wishes to perpetuate and expand it. She will build upon the work the current Occupier of the White House has already achieved. She will complete his mission. She will do so in the name of justice, and progress, and “for the sake of the children.”

13 Hours: Hillary's Disgrace

Posted by MLGoodell on February 1, 2016 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (1)

One of the more disturbing features of George Orwell’s “1984,” is the Two Minutes of Hate, in which all good citizens shout their contempt for the villain du jour at the top of their lungs. The only real world comparative would be sports radio, or the comments section of HuffPo.


After watching the film, “13 Hours,” I decided we need something called Thirteen Hours of Shame, in which all good citizens are required to watch this heartbreaking tale of brave men and women left to their own devices because a sclerotic bureaucracy could not bestir itself to find a solution. That only four people did die is a tribute to the courage, the experience and the grace under pressure of a handful of contracted “operators.” It could have been a whole lot worse.


“13 Hours” is not a political movie, though it is, by virtue of its existence, a political act. And the result of this act should be the end of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. As is fitting for the would-be-FLOTUS, the assessment I made of her husband, that if he had any character he would resign, though if he had any character he wouldn’t have to resign, is suitable for the Mrs. as well. If Hillary had any character, she would drop out of the race, though if she had any character, she wouldn’t have to.


The filmmakers, dedicated to the whole truth, did not mention the Secretary of State, the president or any ranking members of the national security establishment. They were only able to tell the story through the eyes of those who fought to save themselves and their colleagues from a series of concerted and steadily escalating assaults through the early hours of September 12, 2012.


Seriously, this movie conveys no sense that anyone was guilty of anything greater than hubris. There is a poignant scene of fighter pilots in their jets, their engines idly spooling, waiting for the command that never came. In retrospect, they might have done some good, but they would have had to have been scrambled almost immediately after the attacks began. It was clear nobody knew how concerted and relentless they would turn out to be. One likes to think if they had known, they would have ordered the jets into the air.


If the decision was made, not out of ignorance, but from the determination that the consequences of intervening were greater than the potential massacre of nearly 40 American soldiers, analysts and administrators, it would be acceptable. They knew the risks they were taking. The nature of their job was to put their lives on the line. These weren’t cruise ship passengers or Holy Land pilgrims.


It could be justified. In fact, the world would likely be a better place if Jimmy Carter had taken that attitude toward the Americans taken hostage in Tehran in 1979. I don’t suggest he should have acted with callous disregard for their lives, but he could have given Iran an ultimatum, demanding their return in very short order, or face the consequences. If he had been willing to sacrifice their lives, he might well have saved them anyway, without the US being dragged into more than a year’s worth of humiliation. Instead we told the world that we were weak, that we would fold when confronted, that we would always lose.


It is not hubris, miscalculations or a hard but justifiable conclusion that if lives were to be lost it was because the price to save them was too high that renders Hillary unfit for office. No, the damning act is she lied. Now, some might argue in her defense, “Hey, she’s a Clinton. That’s what they do.” Point taken.


Obviously, there are times when National Security demands a touch of mendacity. As Winston Churchill once said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she must always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” However, a political campaign is not war, and a lie told to protect one’s campaign theme is not the same as one told to protect the lives of soldiers or to conceal a crucial strategy.


If the full force of the United States government is used to construct and protect that lie, then it is worse than offensive, it is morally, and arguably criminally wrong. Thanks to the grudging release of Hillary’s emails we now know that on the very night of the attack the Secretary of State knew this was a terrorist assault on the United States, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. She knew this. She told her daughter this. On that very night.


The entire national security establishment of the United States knew this was an act of terrorism. Yet they chose to lie to the American people, and to the grieving parents of those who died that night. Hillary said it was a protest that got out of hand. A protest against an Internet video which showed disrespect to some religious figure. And that’s why she should not be president.


That’s what “13 Hours” drove home. The calm courage, the willingness to die that others might be saved, the very honor of the American soldier was on display that night. When Hillary deliberately told lies about how those men fought and died, she dishonored their sacrifices, she demonstrated that she neither valued nor respected them or their service; she effectively spit upon their graves. At the very least she rendered her unfit to fulfill the duties of the office of Commander in Chief.


Posted by MLGoodell on January 15, 2016 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the good things to come out of the 2012 Presidential election is, having decided America is too stupid to survive, I can actually laugh at the latest Iranian adventurism. The capture and ritualistic humiliation of American naval personnel will go down in history as Benghazi-On-The-Water, Obama’s aquatic version of the Jimmy Carter Desert Classic.


Reading the words of people like Secretary of State John Kerry and California Senator Barbara Boxer, describing the incident as a good thing, because we had successfully opened channels through which to more effectively beg the mullahs for mercy and forgiveness, were deliciously Orwellian in their absurdity. But the most profound response came from the President himself, which was silence.


Now, some believe his neglecting to mention the incident during his State of The Union address demonstrated diplomatic mastery. His silence was born of the understanding that words spoken in anger cannot be withdrawn, and decisions made in haste might propel an incident to the level of conflict.


That’s certainly a reasonable position to take, but when this incident is viewed in conjunction with both the Paris massacre and the Benghazi assault, a different pattern emerges. Rather than judicious silence, what the president’s behavior indicates most strongly is a sense of pique, a resentment that the world is not going the way he wants it to.


When 10 US sailors were captured and, at best, psychologically abused, Obama was angry, not at the Iranians, but at the fact that this development was going to mess up his planned SOTU victory dance over the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Development and Terrorism Financing Agreement (or INWDTFA). In other words, what he felt wasn’t concern for the men and women under his putative command, but anger that they were messing up his plans.


So, too, with the Paris Massacre. Recall the shock among primarily European journalists, who still labored under the delusion of Obama’s deific qualities, when he described the slaughter of 130 Parisians as “a setback.” It was an untoward intrusion of reality into his constrained approach to ISIS and the Syrian auto-genocide. He was upset at mass murder only to the extent that it inconvenienced him.


Consider Benghazi. While not unprecedented, the assassination of an American Ambassador is sufficiently rare as to be noteworthy. Certainly for a president to abandon an American Ambassador to a terrorist attack, leaving him to be burned, mutilated and ritualistically abused while gathering his campaign advisors to figure out the best way to spin it so he could continue to base his reelection campaign on his having successfully defeated terrorism, is a first. Deliberately lying, fabricating some spurious internet video as the cause for a calculated act of terrorism, marks a new low in presidential misconduct.


Again, the president’s reflexive reaction to Benghazi was not concern for American casualties, but resentment at how it messed up his preferred narrative. This dispassionate inability to respond to tragedy except as it impacts his own interests, indicates nothing less than a pathological personality.


Recognizing the president’s social pathology is actually refreshing. It helps explain just about everything he has said and done during the past seven years. It is reassuring to know that he hasn’t actively conspired to destroy America, he has just acted out from a sense of privilege, of misplaced entitlement, and the delusional belief that he knows better than anyone else what needs to be done.

Scalpel, Clamp, STAT!

Posted by MLGoodell on November 3, 2015 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Every time we drive to the Karmanos Center we pass the Ben Carson High School of Science and Medicine and I am reminded again what a great man he is, and what a phenomenal, inspirational story he has to tell. True greatness is rare to witness, and the honor and intellect the good doctor demonstrates each time he opens his mouth is something to behold.

Obviously, I think highly of Dr. Ben Carson. So why was I not thrilled to see he has leapt to the forefront in the latest WSJ/NBC poll, by a margin of 29% to 23% over Donald Trump? Why wouldn’t I want to see a man of Ben Carson’s stellar qualities in the White House? After all, everything about him just oozes integrity.

Unlike some black politicians, Carson’s white mother didn’t leapfrog around the world in pursuit of suitably third-world lovers, abandoning him to be raised in relative luxury by her left-leaning parents. Instead, he was born in Detroit and raised by a single mother who worked two or three jobs to support him and his older brother, Charles. To rise from such humble origins to become a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins almost defies belief.

Frankly, if a compelling backstory was all it took to be an effective president, Jimmy Carter would be one of the All Time Greats. Why, his brother alone would have landed him a spot on Mt. Rushmore. Unfortunately, it takes a bit more than that. Watching Carson’s performances during debates it is evident this is not his ideal metier. In fact, if Jeb Bush weren’t on stage, Carson would look utterly lost.

Of course it is true that the debate format doesn’t play in the Oval Office, where there are rarely provocateurs trying turn discussions into schoolyard brawls, and the president can end any debate simply by saying, “I’m the president.” Still, the ship of state is vast and unwieldy. It requires a steady hand at the helm. While there are many of us who wish to see it trimmed, there are very few of us, (and none not saddled with massive student loan debt), who want to watch it sink.

Carson’s supporters point to his experience in surgery, where life-and-death decisions must be made in an instant, and the surgeon’s orders must be obeyed immediately and exactingly. Only a true leader can succeed in such a high-pressure environment, they argue.

They are correct, but it is worth noting that Carson only became a great surgeon after years of diligent study and practice. He didn’t presume to separate conjoined twins after a couple games of Operation. Yet that is what he is doing by running for presidency.

One point in his favor though, one which promises greater success than, say, Trump would enjoy, or which has eluded the current White House Occupant, is that he appears to have the humility to ask for help. There is nothing more dangerous than someone too ignorant to know what he doesn’t know.

I would like to see Ben Carson in the White House, just not in the Oval Office. A man of his knowledge and wisdom would be perfect heading Health and Human Services. He would enter with a vision and, assuming the support of the president, quickly find a path to fulfill it. He would be doing a great service to his country, thereby making his story even more inspirational.

What's Your Problem?

Posted by MLGoodell on November 1, 2015 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

In his review of Jay Winik’s “1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History,” Victor Davis Hanson writes that “Roosevelt remained mostly oblivious to the savage nature of Joseph Stalin and the criminal character of the Soviet Union.”

Roosevelt, he continues, “Owing either to the physical incapacities and discomfort of his illnesses or to his innate narcissism and resulting naivete, believed that his once formidable but fading repartee and eloquence could charm Stalin into joining his envisioned team of sober and judicious world-policeman states under the aegis of the United Nations.”

As a result, “The conferences in Tehran in November 1942 and in Yalta in February 1945 . . . saw Roosevelt chide the pro-American Churchill in a pathetic attempt to triangulate with the Soviets. The near-moral equivalence Roosevelt drew between British colonialism and Stalinism had negative consequences for American foreign policy, and indeed on global stability, for the ensuing decade.”

Replacing Churchill with Netanyahu, Stalin with Ayatollah Khamanei, Russia with Iran and British with Israeli, produces a solid analysis of contemporary Middle East policy. Switch out Roosevelt in favor of Obama and the analogy is complete.

Or nearly so. Winik suggests that Roosevelt’s deteriorating health contributed in large measure to his late-war errors and his failure to accurately measure the iniquity of his foes. In Davis’ review he writes, “By mid-1944, Roosevelt suffered from end-stage congestive heart failure, heart-valve damage, hypertension (with blood pressure regularly nearing or exceeding 200/100), atherosclerosis, and sinus, bronchial, intestinal, gall-bladder, and urinary infections. Doctor’s at Bethesda Naval Hospital by late March 1944 correctly diagnosed the president’s maladies and balefully predicted that he had no more than a year to live.”

Both author and reviewer seem to suggest that the fact Roosevelt was dying excuses some of the worst of his blunders, which forces us to ask of Obama, “What’s your problem?”

Or, as Lance Armstrong asked Peter LeFleur in the film version of Shakespeare’s “Dodgeball,” “So, what are you dying from?”

Defund Ted Cruz

Posted by MLGoodell on October 1, 2015 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

In the Wall Street Journal today, Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson displayed a flash of drollery in their article headlined “GOP and Obama in New Talks On Budget.” It described attempts by Republican Congressional leaders to reach a two-year budget agreement with the administration, thereby forestalling any fiscal furor during an election year. Or as the Taliban wing of the Conservative movement might phrase it, a wholesale capitulation by the RINO establishment who would happily abandon morality and destroy the very foundations of our nation rather than risk criticism from the drive-by media and the Inside the Beltway Elite.

It is hard to fathom why The True Believers are so rabidly opposed to negotiating with Mr. Obama. Everyone else in the world does it, and they make out like bandits. Maybe the GOP leadership should don turbans and shout “Death to America.” Then the president would no doubt roll back Obamacare, approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, come clean on Benghazi and lock Lois Lerner in Gitmo and throw away the key.

As for the drollery, when discussing the unlikelihood of putative new Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy going ahead with the preliminary budget negotiations, the writers mentioned McCarthy’s promise to “be more in touch with the views of the public, where many conservative Republicans see threatening a (government) shutdown as a legitimate tactic.”

It is a legitimate tactic. Lord knows, Obama and the Democrats use it all the time to question the GOP’s ability to govern like adults. They perform a flawless impersonation of Brer Rabbit, pleading “I don’t keer what you do wid me, Brer Tea Party, just so long as you don’t shut down de gummint.” And then Brer Tea Party says, “Oh boy, don’t we got ums now. Brer Obama he is gone to have to veto dis budget and den ev’body know who shut down de gummint.”

Just one problem. It has never, ever worked. It doesn’t matter who wins the politics, the public perception, drilled into their heads by the incessant mainstream media chant, is that the Republicans shut down the government. It was ever thus. Back in 1995, fresh from the evicting the Democrats from Occupying Congress, Newt Gingrich’s Republicans attempted to fulfill their vow to rein in government spending. They passed a budget (they did things like that back in those days), and Bill Clinton vetoed it. They passed another budget. He vetoed it again, at the last minute, and the government shut down. Who got the blame for the government shut down, the people who passed a budget, or the man who vetoed it? Correct, it was the people who passed the budget.

Flash forward to 2013. House Republicans fulfilled their promise to pass a budget which delayed the rollout of Obamacare. At the last minute Senate Democrats refused to pass the it, and the government shut down. Who got the blame, the people who passed a budget, or the people who refused to? Correct, it was the people who passed the budget.

Now we come to today’s clever stratagem, which calls for House Republicans to pass a budget defunding Planned Parenthood. Once they do that, Obama will have no choice but to veto it, and the government will have to shut down. This time, it will be absolutely clear who is responsible for shutting down the government, right?

Correct, which is why ever since Ted Cruz first aimed his RPG at Planned Parenthood’s headquarters, reporters and commentators at NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, NPR, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Univision, Al Jazeera and Telemundo have bitten their lower lips, frowned and asked in their most tremulous voice, “Surely the Republicans aren’t going to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood--which incidentally is one of the leading providers of women’s health care and didn’t do or say anything that those mean, nastily edited and misleading videos.”

It won’t work, which should be obvious to anyone who is paying attention. Which should include Ted Cruz. By all accounts--except for the Jon-Stewart-intellectual class who think every Conservative is a knuckle-dragging, slope-browed, mouth-breathing simpleton--Cruz is a pretty sharp guy. So he’s got to know two things. One, Republicans will be blamed for shutting down the government, and Two, it is impossible to defund Planned Parenthood.

Yes, the videos are bad--or so I hear. I watched excerpts of the first one, but none of the rest. Not because I didn’t want to know, but because they are preaching to the choir. Planned Parenthood is an abortion mill. It is what they do, but they dress themselves up as purveyors of women’s health services so nice white suburban ladies can feel good about themselves by donating the proceeds of the Episcopalian Church Rummage Sale to help take care of poor, dark women (and if that means helping them abort their babies, well, after all, they wouldn’t likely have a very happy life, what with their terrible schools and growing up to be criminals--or to put it another way, #BlackLivesMatterButBlackFetusesDon’t).

In theory, and quite to the contrary of what The True Believer knows just has to be true, the federal government is not paying Planned Parenthood to perform abortions. It is against the law. If Congressional Republicans believe it is, they should investigate the matter. If they have proof they should demand the Justice Department act.

In fact, much of federal funding for Planned Parenthood is payment for services covered under Medicaid. That money has to be paid, unless Congress wants to pass a law prohibiting Planned Parenthood from providing health care to poor women. (Oh, that’s a lovely visual, isn’t it? Try to capture the Millennial vote waving that banner around).

Cruz knows all this, which means the only reason he is leading this stunt is to feed the blood lust of The True Believer mob. Maybe he thinks this will give him a lock on the nomination. Maybe he figures with Jon Stewart retired, the vast bulk of the Millennials, having lost their sole news source, won’t even know there’s an election, and so won’t come out in force to vote against him. It’s a strategy. Maybe it will work out for him.

It’s a strategy, but it’s not leadership. It’s not statesmanship, and it reflects a demeanor possibly even less presidential than that of Donald Trump.

Ich Bin Ein Buffooner!

Posted by MLGoodell on August 16, 2015 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

After Donald Trump’s selfish, arrogant, and bullying behavior during the recent Fox News-sponsored Republican debate, most serious political observers concluded his performance would be fatal to his campaign. As it turns out, the experts were wrong. Rather than seeing Trump as a buffoon, the bomb-throwing wing of the GOP attacked Fox News for being biased. Trump’s poll numbers remained unmoved, his supporters even more defiant.

“How could this be?” the experts wondered, before seizing on Ohio Governor John Kasich’s concession that Trump addressed genuine concerns among the American people.

That must be it, they decided. Trump speaks to the people. He says what they are saying, and they gravitate to him. He’s the mythic Everyman, come to life, come to salvage a people’s hopes and dreams. Okay, he’s a mythic Everyman with his own private jet. But still.

The problem with this line of thinking is while it may explain, it doesn’t justify Trump’s position. It’s not enough simply to speak to a nation’s beliefs. That’s essentially what Hitler did during his rise to power. He said what many German’s were saying, namely that Germany didn’t lose World War I, but were betrayed by the Jews and the bankers. Hitler touched a nerve, but that didn’t mean he was justified.

I should note that in no way do I mean to equate Trump with Hitler. Hitler, after all, actually believed what he was saying. Hitler didn’t change every one of his positions when he decided to run on the Nazi ticket.

This is not to say Trump has no firm, deeply held beliefs. Two things remain constant regardless  where he lands on the political dial. 1) He is very, very rich, and 2) He is very, very classy. And he is, classy, that is, like your typical strip club owner is classy. Like your stereotypical pimp is classy. Like your average hip hop artist turned business mogul beating his son’s strength and fitness coach with a kettle bell weight is classy.

Really, the only question is, how stupid are the Tea Party Taliban? Do they really think Trump has a chance to win? Do they really want to throw the election to Hillary, Bernie, or God forbid, Joe Biden? Those of us who, after all this change, still have hope, would like to believe Trump’s poll numbers are so high because a lot of Democrat operatives are falsely identifying themselves as likely Republican voters in order to inflate The Donald’s numbers.

The reason they’re doing this is because they know Hillary can beat Trump, even if she has to campaign from prison.

President Obama is Right!

Posted by MLGoodell on August 6, 2015 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

 Following President Barack Obama’s forceful and compelling address at American University it seems only right to give credit where credit is due. Speaking at the same venue where John F. Kennedy defended the use of diplomacy with the Soviet Union, Obama defended the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) reached after years of torturous negotiations between Iran and the P+1, (comprising the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

Having been a consistent critic of our president, it is my duty to acknowledge when he is right. Though his entire presidency has been either a farrago of Carteresque incompetence or the machinations of Manchurian Candidate, when Obama speaks the truth, to power of otherwise, I will say so.

Obama was right when he called the JPCOA the capstone of his foreign policy legacy, and he was right when he declared rejecting this deal would leave the US “with one option: another war in the Middle East.”

Sadly, from the moment he initiated negotiations with the Ayatollahs of Iran Obama triggered the steady erosion of American power, prestige, dignity and leverage over the world’s most dangerous rogue regime. It is bizarre that Obama’s objective from the very beginning seemingly wasn’t to protect our interests, or those of our one-time ally, Israel, but to support the Islamist dictatorship.

By affirming that our goal was to end crippling economic sanctions the president gave interested parties tacit permission to subvert and undermine those very sanctions. That this helped stabilize Iran’s economy is beyond dispute. That this undercut a growing domestic opposition to the murdering mullahs is clearly evident. Only one question remains, qui bono?

But our president is correct. Thanks to this agreement, the only way to stop Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon is to wage war. In fact, the upshot of this agreement is regardless of our intentions, there will be another war in the Middle East. The only question is how involved will we be in it? We can say to Obama what Sir Winston Churchill said to an earlier diplomatic disgrace, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you shall have war.”

Except for the bit about war, everything the President has said about this agreement is a blatant lie. There are no “snap-back” sanctions provisions. Even if there were they would be useless because the agreement states no existing contract or arrangement will be subject to sanctions. Furthermore, reestablishing sanctions will allow Iran to end the agreement.

In other words, Iran will be able to break the agreement from its outset, with no fear of consequences and little fear of detection. Because there is no “anytime, anywhere” inspections program. The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA must give 24 days’ notice before inspecting any Iranian facility. This inspection will be subject to negotiation, and as we have seen throughout this process, the Iranians are masters of drawing out negotiations.

No one from the United States is allowed to inspect Iranian compliance, only the IAEA, and then only in accordance with secret agreements hammered out in conjunction with the JCPOA, agreements no American, not even in Congress, is allowed to see.

We can see how ineffective this process will be today, even before the agreement comes into effect. One of the terms of the agreement requires the IAEA confirm the existence and extent of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program. The study, due to be completed by mid-December, has been hamstrung by Iran’s refusal to allow IAEA inspectors to speak with anyone associated with the program. Chief among them is Moshen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, whom the IAEA has been trying to reach for the past five years.

Does this recalcitrance endanger the JCPOA? Not at all. IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano doesn’t feel it necessary to speak to anyone who actually was involved with the program. “If someone who has a different name to Fakhrizadeh can clarify our issues, that is fine with us,” he breezed.

Maybe they can ask Obama to help. I’m sure he’d be happy to clarify their issues. Anything to help keep the dream alive. Anything to help “the Supreme Leader” keep his job. Anything to avoid war.

Confessions of a Transgenner

Posted by MLGoodell on June 27, 2015 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Over the years I have delighted friends and family alike with my tales of past exploits, heroic deeds, memorable achievements. From scaling Mt. Everest to getting gassed in the trenches at Ypres, I’ve experienced more than most men have, and I willingly share them in what I prefer to call creative reminiscences. While many value learning of my long and illustrious past, some, particularly my wife and daughter lack the ability to appreciate the gift they have been given. They have taken to quashing my creative reminiscences with a harsh and abrupt, “No!”

Do I appreciate this narration truncation? Not at all. In fact, I resent it. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t me who was suffering, rather my spouse and her daughter, who by declining to hear my tales were condemning themselves to a less lustrous existence. Still, their rejection rankled. It ate at me. It made me less than a fully realized human being. It was as if they were trying to delegitimate me. It hurt.

Then the other day, while contemplating the triumphs and tribulations of Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal, I wondered why was Caitlyn so courageous as to merit paeans of praise by pop cultural icons from the president on up while Rachel was condemned as the greatest fraud since Rosie Ruiz? One identified as a white woman, the other as a black woman. What was the difference?

It was right then, basically at the point between the and difference that I had my epiphany. I realized that of all my creative reminiscences, the ones I valued the most, and the ones the squelching of which hurt the most, were those pertaining to my experiences in World War II. It was then that I understood that I have always identified as a World War II veteran.

Yes, that is correct. I am a transgenerational American, or a transgenner, as we like to refer to ourselves. Inside this 59-year-old body is a 92-year-old man struggling to be heard. And I explained to my wife that she can no longer prevent me from telling my war stories. That would be a hate crime. It would be wrong on so many levels.

After all, if I identify as a 92-year-old man who’s to say I wasn’t actually in the Battle of the Bulge?

This has been a most liberating experience for me. For the first time in my life I feel comfortable in my own body. Sure, there are those who resent me, like my ex-wife for example, but I don’t mind. I know the courage I have shown in making this announcement has actualized my identity in a breathtaking way.

I’m not looking for the same kind of adulation that Caitlyn got. For instance, you can keep the Vanity Fair spread. I’m just not interested. However, I sure wouldn’t mind getting a slice of that $500 million in endorsements they were talking about. For me, I figure I should be a lock for Depends, reverse mortgages and those bulky electric scooters you see advertised everywhere.

Actually, come to think of it, with the presidential election devolving to a race between a Clinton and a Bush, with the cinematic release of Jurassic World and Mad Max, it may be we are in fact a nation of transgenners.

Wow, I never thought I’d be at the cutting edge of societal change. At least, not in this lifetime. But that’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it?

Shame on You

Posted by MLGoodell on May 29, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Bret Stephens devoted his Wall Street Journal column this week to Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent interview with Barack Obama. He discussed Obama’s “Rational Ayatollah Hypothesis,” in which the president believes that Ayatollah Khamanei, (whom Obama insists on calling the supreme leader), is like the little match girl, shivering outside the window, wanting only to bask in the glow that comes from the fond embrace of the international community.

Or as Stephens put it, “Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a man with an undergraduate’s enthusiasm for moral equivalency . . . would have sophomoric ideas about the nature and history of anti-Semitism.”

Stephens is far too kind to the president. In Obama’s eyes Iranian anti-Semitism is inconsequential, comparable to, say, the racism of those with the temerity to disagree with him. If Obama can work with racist Republicans, how hard would it be to work with anti-Semitic Iranians?

Responding to Goldberg’s concern that ending sanctions could serve as a $150 billion gift to Iran’s terroristic infrastructure, Obama said, “I think it is not at all contradictory to say that there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in the core regime, but they also are interested in maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their own country, which requires that they get themselves out of what is a deep economic rut that we’ve put them in . . .”

Of all Obama’s arrogant, anti-American allegations, of which there are legion, this may well be the worst. No, Mr. President, we did not put Iran in this deep economic rut, the supreme leader and his henchmen did. They put themselves in this rut by defying the “international community,” by being so blatant in their disregard for international law; so vocal in their promises to wipe Israel off the map, that even France, even China, even Russia, despite America’s diffident leadership, were moved to establish a regime of strict and painful economic sanctions.

Shame on you, Mr. President, for rushing to the supreme leader’s aid, for overlooking his perfidy, for “having his back.”

More on the subject of Iranian anti-Semitism: “You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism . . . There were a whole lot of European leaders--and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country--”

This knee jerk moral relativism, this reflexive kick back at what is presumably his native land, this craven eagerness to prove that America is no better, and never has been, than any other nation, is galling to behold. The audacity of giving moral equivalence to Khamanei’s invidious cheerleading, as thousands give voice to their bloodthirsty chant, “Death to Israel, Death to the Jews!” and certain country clubs which refused to allow Jewish members is despicably evil and mind-numbingly ignorant.

Shame on you, Mr. President.

As for those European leaders, you actually got that one right. Some of those European leaders were responsible for the death of six million Jews. Yes, Hitler and the Germans tried to wipe out the Jewish race. It was a despicable act, a dark day in the history of the world. It was that of which the world has resolved Never Again. Well, not the whole world. Ayatollah Khamenei, for instance, refuses to believe the Holocaust ever happened, claiming it was yet another lie hatched by the dastardly Jew.

This, Mr. President, is your prospective BFF, the “core regime,” your highly rational, legitimacy-seeking leadership. This is who you want to do a deal with, whose excesses you forgive, whose transgressions you absolve, whose power you defend and whose supremacy you embrace. Shame on you, Mr. President.